Ligue 1 Set Piece Takers

The annual dominance that we so often see in the French league from perennial winners Paris Saint Germain was brought to an astounding halt in the 2020/2021 season.

Lille clinched the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 10 years and their success brought a new wave of fan optimism for the recently concluded campaign.

However, Paris Saint Germain finished top of the pile once again to re-assert their dominance at the top of the French league, and they’re expected to win the division once again this season.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the dead ball specialists from France’s highest tier of league football.


Takers from Ligue 1’s most popular teams

It makes a lot of sense for readers to know who the set piece takers are from the most watched teams in the division.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the following clubs…


Paris Saint Germain

Here we have a star-studded team, but quite ironically it’s pretty easy to know who is on penalty and free kick taking duty because the personnel are so good!

For starters, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé are on penalties, although Lionel Messi would be waiting in the wings should the aforementioned two not be available on the pitch.

Mbappé does appear to be trying to pad his stats out more, so we expect him to take up the responsibility more frequently than Neymar even though the Brazilian has an exceptional record from the spot.

When it comes to free kicks and corners, we expect Lionel Messi and Neymar to take the vast majority.


AS Monaco

You can’t really look past Wissam Ben Yedder when it comes to penalties.

The Algerian is a very accurate finisher in general play, and he’s able to adapt that ability to taking penalties as well.

He’s already scored four times from the spot this season, only missing one attempt out of five.

Deputizing in his absence would be either of:

  • Breel Embolo; or
  • Kevin Volland

On the other hand, free kick and corner kick duty is expected to be shared between Aleksandr Golovin and Takumi Minamino.


Olympique de Marseille

France’s most popular team by fan base has a number of different penalty takers, as evidenced by the variety of scorers that they’ve had so far this campaign.

We’ve seen Alexis Sanchez, Dimitri Payet and Cengiz Ünder all convert from the spot.

However, we expect Sanchez to be the primary taker in most instances, with Payet as his very capable backup.

On the matter of free kicks and corners, these should be taken by Dimitri Payet.

He has incredible shooting technique, as you only have to see one of the best free kicks he ever scored whilst playing for West Ham United to see exactly what he’s capable of from distance:


Olympique Lyon

Finally, we have Alexandre Lacazette on penalty duty here.

The Frenchman re-joined Lyon quite recently from the English side Arsenal, and so far he’s been very efficient from the spot.

Lacazette has converted all of his four penalty attempts so far.


Set piece takers from Ligue 1’s newly promoted teams

Ligue 1 used to follow the German Bundesliga principle of having two teams go up and another two relegated to the division beneath.

But in the past season, an extra team gained promotion through a playoff match which decided who would take the final spot.

ligue 1 set piece takers - newly promoted teams

Saint Etienne lost to Auxerre in a tightly contested penalty shootout, which saw the former drop down into Ligue 2 with Auxerre earning a place in Ligue 1 for the first time since 2012.

Because I haven’t watched or seen any of the following promoted clubs in action, I’ll update their free kick and corner takers as the season gets underway.


Toulouse FC

Central midfielder Branco van den Boomen will probably retain penalty taking duty for Toulouse this season, as he comfortably dispatched all the five spot kicks he took last campaign in Ligue 2.

ligue 1 set piece takers - branco van den boomen on penalties for tolouse

However, it remains to be seen who will take their corners and free kicks.

We’ll have more data on this after a few fixtures have been played.


AC Ajaccio

This team stepped up to Ligue 1 through finishing 2nd place in the Ligue 2 standings.

From what we’ve seen of them last year, their defense is relatively solid.

However, their attacking output is cause for concern as they only managed to score 39 goals last year.

ligue 1 set piece takers - youcef belaili for ac ajaccio

New signing Thomas Mangani looks to be on penalty duty so far, having slotted one in against Olympique Lyon in the opening fixture.

This leaves the former first choice penalty taker – Riad Nouri – having to deputise in case of Mangani’s absence.


AJ Auxerre

Auxerre made it to France’s top soccer division by the skin of their teeth, overcoming Saint Etienne in a promotion/relegation playoff fixture at the end of last season.

Mathias Autret looks to be on penalties for now; scoring three times from three attempts last season.

ligue 1 set piece takers - mbaye niang for auxerre

Update – M’Baye Niang has converted from both of his attempts this season.


Which team scored the most set piece goals in the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season?

Rennes had the most goals from set pieces last season, as they recorded an impressive tally of 16 conversions from dead ball situations.

Rennes were followed closely by Strasbourg and Saint Etienne – who both recorded 13 set piece goals each.


Full Ligue 1 competition set piece takers list

Take a look at the full list of takers whilst you’re still here:

ClubPenalties (Main)Penalties (Alternate)Free Kicks (Main)Free Kicks (Alternate 1)Free Kicks (Alternate 2)Corners (Main)Corners (Alternate 1)Corners (Alternate 2)
AS MonacoWissam Ben YedderBreel EmboloAleksandr Golovin--Aleksandr Golovin--
RC LensFlorian SotocaSeko FofanaSeko Fofana--Seko Fofana--
RennesBenjamin BourigeaudLovro MajerBenjamin Bourigeaud--Benjamin Bourigeaud--
NiceAndy DelortNicolas PepeAmine GouiriDaniloNicolas PepeAmine GouiriNicolas Pepe-
LilleJonathan DavidAngel GomesAngel GomesBenjamin AndréYusuf YaziciYusuf YaziciBenjamin AndréAngel Gomes
NantesLudovic BlasMoses SimonTBC--TBC--
AC AjaccioYoucef BelaïliThomas ManganiYoucef BelaïliRiad Nouri-Youcef BelaïliRiad Nouri-
BrestRomain Del CastilloSteve MounieTBC--TBC--
TroyesFlorian TardieuMama BaldeMama Balde--Mama Balde--
ClermontKomnen AndricMuhammed ChamTBC--TBC--
ReimsFolarin BalogunKamory DoumbiaArbër ZeneliCafaro-Arbër ZeneliDoumbiaChavalerin
AJ AuxerreM'Baye NiangMathias AutretMathias Autret--Mathias Autret--
Olympique LyonAlexandre LacazetteMoussa DembéléHoussem AouarLucas Paquetá-Houssem AouarLucas Paquetá-
Paris Saint GermainKylian MbappeNeymarNeymarLionel MessiMarco VerattiNeymarLionel MessiMarco Veratti
AngersThomas ManganiSofiane BoufalThomas ManganiAngelo Fulgini-Thomas ManganiAngelo Fulgini-
LorientTerem MoffiArmand LaurientéTBC--TBC--
FC ToulouseBranco van den Boomen-TBC--TBC--
StrasbourgLudovic AjorqueHabib DialloDimitri Liénard--Dimitri Liénard--
MontpellierTeji SavanierFlorent MolletFlorent MolletTeji Savanier-Florent MolletTeji Savanier-
Olympique MarseilleAlexis SanchezDimitri PayetDimitri PayetCengiz Ünder-Dimitri PayetCengiz Ünder-


Closing thoughts

Hopefully this short article has provided a great amount of insight with regard to set piece takers in the French league.

When you have a couple of minutes to spare, you may also want to check out our guides on:


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Samuel Waihenya
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